Skip to main content

American Girl, An - the Problems of Prejudice (Part I)


Published 1958
Topics need keyword


An adolescent girl in a small town tests her democratic heritage when she pretends to be Jewish and encounters prejudice. She explores the problem of antiSemitism by reading her diary at a PTA meeting.


Run time 0:09:32
Production Company Anti-Defamation League Of B'nai B'rith
Audio/Visual sound, B&W

Reviews

Reviewer: donwert - - March 2, 2010
Subject: Thanks for proving the point
Well, wertblows, I'm a bit surprised you're all that high about Dearborn. It now has the country's largest Islamic population. Usually racists like yourself are equal opportunity haters. I'm sure attitudes like yours had nothing to do with Detroit's decline, eh?
Reviewer: wertblows - - February 14, 2010
Subject: Dearborn vs Detroit
Funny DonWert that you mention Dearborn and Detroiters attempting to move in back in the 50's and 60's, etc. Orville Hubbard's legacy may be suffering, and no one could get away with that stuff today, but he gave his citizens what they wanted. They wanted to keep Detroiters out, along with all of their baggage. He did a very good job with it, and now compare the two cities. Dearborn is still thriving, and Detroit is a complete sh1thole. Look at how the citizens of Detroit have taken care of that once-beautiful city. Look at the attitudes of its people. Look at the conditions of the homes and the streets. Heck, look at the conditions of the other cities that didn't resist Detroiters moving in. Look at Ecorse, River Rouge, Inkster, Highland Park, Southfield. Those cities were so smart in letting Detroiters move in, and look at how they've suffered. In hindsight, Orville Hubbard was even MORE deserving of accolades than he got at the time. So go badtalk Orville Hubbard, but let's see you live in that cr@phole of a city, Detroit, and see what you think then.
Reviewer: bestpbx - - March 8, 2008
Subject: Famous Actors Way Back When...
The mother in this film is none other than AUDRA LINDLEY who played "Mrs. Roper" on "Three's Company"!
The kid sister is... PATTY DUKE!!!!!!!! This was just before her movie debut as "Helen Keller" in "The Miracle Worker".
The dad is an actor that I have seen before, but I cannot recall the shows he was in or his name. Anyone know?
Reviewer: Spuzz - - October 13, 2003
Subject: The jewish ideals as a fashion statement
When I first started watching this film and came across it's bombastic beginning dedicating this film t teens with bombastic decency (note the underlining) I thought for sure it was going to be this social guidance melodrama. What I DIDN'T know was that it was going to be of all things, anti-semitism! A teenage girl gets a bracelet for her birthday by her otherwise bothersome (but great) younger sister. She goes back to the jeweler with her friends when she finds out there is a second part to it. That second part is a star of David pendant! Her friends, and soon, pretty much the whole town shuns her, thinking that she's jewish. I marvelled at the lead actress's defiance in wearing the trinket when everyone, including her parents, wondered why she kept wearing it. Soon, the whole thing ends up rather pat with The Big Speech And Everything Is OK Again, but still, this has a LOT going for it and is a MUST SEE on this site.
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - - July 6, 2003
Subject: An American Girl
This film, made by the same folks responsible for All the Way Home, show us the underside of the "nice, simpler time" of the 50s, this time from a teen's perspective. Teenaged girl Norma gets a pretty silver charm bracelet for her birthday from her little sister, who bought it in a second-hand store. When Norma returns to the store with her friends to get the storekeeper to decipher some foreign characters on one of the charms, she finds out it is a Jewish bracelet. When the storekeeper shows her a star of David charm that goes with it, Norma has it put on the bracelet, despite the protests of her friends, who think it is "weird." Norma does it because she thinks it's pretty, but she finds that wearing a bracelet with Jewish symbols on it is "not done" in her neighborhood and it leads to ostracism by most of the kids at school, including her best friends. One of her friend's mothers actually accuses Norma of hiding a Jewish identity and insists that she should make friends with "her own kind." Fortunately, Norma's parents are unusually intelligent and thoughtful in this matter. They realize that they cannot shield their daughter from the ugliness that is showing in their "nice" neighborhood after the bracelet scratched its surface, and they allow Norma to make her own decision about what to do about it, according to her own conscience. Norma chooses to confront the PTA with her experiences by reading her diary aloud to them. This film is a good counterpoint to the social guidance films made during this period, most of which stress "fitting in." What those other films failed to show was that some people were not even given a chance to "fit in" and that conforming to the group is not always a good thing. The fact that the filmmakers didn't actually make Norma Jewish just shows how pervasive the problem of racism was, and how it was covered up with innuendo and hints, in order to maintain the facade of "niceness." Again, this is a film that is necessary viewing in order to get a more complete version of what the 50s were like, and the price that was paid for its "niceness."
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
In Collection
Prelinger Archives
Uploaded
on 5/22/2003
Views
17,671
Favorites
11
Reviews
5
PEOPLE ALSO FOUND
Prelinger Archives
2,780
0
4
( 4 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
1,359
0
2
( 2 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
3,507
0
2
( 2 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
2,373
0
3
( 3 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
9,606
0
5
( 5 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
6,997
0
3
( 3 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
1,263
0
2
( 2 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
6,594
0
2
( 2 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
2,838
0
4
( 4 reviews )
Prelinger Archives
5,965
0
2
( 2 reviews )